Stowmarket High School will improve after Ofsted criticised standards again – headteacher

Stowmarket High School headteacher Dave Lee-Allan

Stowmarket High School headteacher Dave Lee-Allan - Credit: Gregg Brown

A headteacher has vowed to continue making “sweeping improvements” after Ofsted criticised standards for a second time in two years.

Dave Lee-Allan’s appointment to Stowmarket High School in Easter could not stop inspectors handing it another ‘requires improvement’ grade.

The school received the same rating two years ago – with a ‘satisfactory’ mark (now known as requires improvement’) in 2011.

This time around inspectors, although noting that “more rapid improvements recently” had been made, said standards were not high enough in four out of five inspection areas, including quality of teaching and pupils’ exam results. The school’s sixth form was however, rated as ‘good’.

In a statement headteacher Mr Lee-Allan said: “I think this report supports what we have been doing here since Easter. I have never shied away from acknowledging that Stowmaket is a school with many strengths, huge potential but also a number of issues that need sorting.

“I don’t disagree with what Ofsted has found – in fact our own analysis and that of our strategic partners told Ofsted what they would see.”

“I am delighted that Ofsted saw for themselves the sweeping improvements we are making here – this allows us to continue at even greater pace.”

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The inspectors, who visited over two days, said more sixth form teachers needed to also work in the main school to help raise standards.

The report stated: “Much of what the school needs to do to improve is already in place in the sixth form. Teaching is good but the positive skills and expertise seen in the sixth form, including in science and mathematics, are not shared sufficiently across the rest of the school.”

The school took on extra pupils in September as part of the move from three-tier to two-tier schooling and the closure of middle schools in the town and Needham Market.

Stephanie Challinor, chairman of governors, said: “Mr Lee-Allan, the staff and the governors have not stopped this pace of improvement and we are clear about where we are going and what we are going to need to do to get there.”

In the summer 52% of students got five or more A*-C GCSE grades, including English and maths.